Hardcore travelers are always looking to go beyond the traditional, novel tourist experiences in any new city they visit and discover the weirder, less mainstream attractions. If you consider yourself one such hardcore traveler, you understand the quest for finding the hidden gems wherever you go. In Portland, Oregon, there is no lack of delightfully strange experiences, especially if you’re willing to traverse off the beaten path. In this post, we’ll take a look at a few things you definitely have to try when you visit Portland.
1. Sample Unconventional Twists on Classic American Treats
In Portland, you’ll be able to find plenty of doughnut shops and ice cream parlors designed with adventurous foodies in mind. Voodoo Doughnuts seems to be the doughnut shop favorite of many tourists looking for whacky flavors to try. However, if you want a true Portland experience, the locals say to skip Voodoo and go straight to Blue Star Donuts where you can find incredible, inventive flavors like Blueberry Bourbon Basil, Mexican Hot Chocolate, Chocolate Almond Ganache, and Cointreau Crème Brûlée. If you still have room, visit the locals’ latest ice cream obsession: Salt & Straw. Give your taste buds a wild ride with creative flavors like Pear and Blue Cheese, Buttermilk Pancakes, Bacon and Eggs, and Wild Fennel Amaro Milk Sorbet.
2. Sip Beer and Play Board Games All Night at Game Knight
If you’re a fan of board games and craft brews, you’ll geek out over Game Knight in the heart of Portland. The cafe and bar boast an extensive supply of board games, and by extensive, we mean literally hundreds of different games to choose from! There are classics like Othello and Monopoly as well as niche games like Lord of the Rings-themed board games and card games and lesser-known games like Wuzzles and Frag Deadlands. You and your travel companions could easily spend an entire evening playing board games and sipping affordable craft beers and ciders (most of them only cost $5). If you’re hungry, Game Knight has a menu of very reasonably priced sandwiches, salads, and share plates like the King Mi made with pulled pork, Asian slaw, and sambal sauce and Hungry Hungry Chippos loaded with housemade nacho cheese sauce, corn, beans, and pineapple salsa.
3. Stand in Awe of the Towering Waterfalls in the Columbia River Valley
Portland is not known solely as a hipster eutopia; it’s also recognized as one of the most stunning hiking destinations in North America. If you need an escape to a wooded paradise, spend an afternoon in Columbia River Valley. About 25 miles outside of downtown Portland is this magnificent gorge, home to awe-inspiring waterfalls, hiking trails, rivers, and forestry. You’ll definitely want to bring your camera on this adventure and be mindful of the crowds. It’s a very popular attraction, so you may want to consider visiting the park in the off-season. A handful of waterfalls worth checking out in the gorge include Multnomah Falls, Horsetail Falls (with a natural pool beneath it that’s often enjoyed by hikers in need of a refreshing swim), and the Oneonta Gorge, which requires a one-mile “hike” through a water bed (prepare for waist-deep waters!).
4. Satisfy Your Cravings at the Holy Grail of Food Trucks
Move over, New York. Portland is fast becoming king of the food truck scene. Sure, New York might be known for a food truck on every corner, but Portland is known for 600 food trucks all in one place. If you’re ready to feast on a smorgasbord of international cuisine, dedicate an evening (or several) to dining out at the food truck pods in Portland. Start off in Cartlandia, which is considered the “super pod” of Portland. It’s here that you’ll find lobster carts, international cuisine from over 15 countries, and The Blue Room, a beer garden with 18 beers and ciders on tap. For Southern comfort food and vegan twists on classic dishes, head to the Mississippi Marketplace on North Mississippi Avenue. If you’re in the neighborhood for breakfast, visit Hash It Out for some savory sausage and egg entrees, all made with locally-sourced ingredients. For BBQ, check out Homegrown Smoker, which has a variety of delectable meats as well as vegan BBQ options. For late night munchies after a few drinks at the pub, spend the final hours of the evening at Cartopia where you’ll find everything from sweet and savory crepes to wood-fired pizza and poutine.
Ready to experience everything that Portland has to offer from quirky doughnuts to gorgeous waterfalls? Buy a bus ticket from BusTickets.com today and start planning your trip!